According to the Wikipedia entry on Beltaine:
Bealtaine was historically a Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Bealtaine and Samhain were the leading terminal dates of the civil year in medieval Ireland, though the latter festival was the more important. The festival regained popularity during the Celtic Revival and remains observed in the Celtic Nations and the Irish diaspora.
According to Nora Chadwick, in Celtic Ireland “Beltine (or Beltaine) was celebrated on 1 May, a spring-time festival of optimism. Fertility ritual again was important, in part perhaps connecting with the waxing power of the sun, symbolized by the lighting of fires through which livestock were driven, and around which the people danced in a sunwise direction”
Wiccans and Wiccan-inspired Neopagans celebrate a variation of Beltane as a Sabbat, one of the eight solar holidays. Although the holiday may use features of the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as maypole dancing). Some Wiccans celebrate “High Beltaine” by enacting a ritual union of the May Lord and May Lady.
Interestingly, I think the Wikipedia entry on “May Day” gives a better overall view of the day, and how it is and has been viewed through out the world.
As the world celebrates this day that has historically had a focus on fertility, and bringing of new offspring into the world – I have to stop and think about what I want to bring into the world for myself in a non-child sense. (I have two awesome kids, but this blog is focused on exercise and running – so I am sticking with that theme!) I think that makes it a good day to stop and take an accounting of where I am, and where I want to be. In the last three weeks I have been unable to run, but have lived in a perpetual “any-day now” state as I waited to be able to run again. While I am going to see Dr. Parker Gennett, DPM today at 2:45 (he comes highly recommended from several athletes I know), even if I cannot run – I am done waiting for it to be an option.
So, here is my outlook and plans that start TODAY!
1) Eat better – in the last three weeks, I have found a few pounds that I had lost. I have decided to lose them again. For the month of May, I will not be eating any junk food. No fast food, no cookies, no candy, no cake (except for my birthday cake), no pie and anything else that falls under that. I will be tracking everything through myfitnesspal – and it will get entered BEFORE I eat it.
2) 5 hours of exercise a week. This is a minimum, and allows me two rest days.
3) Positive attitude – I am going to try to focus on the positive aspects of my life instead of looking at the negative. While I may not be able to run, I can lift, I can Swim, I can use an elliptical, I can ride a bike. I can do p90x or Insanity. I have so many options open to me – that losing one for a period should be a non-issue!
I have definitely had motivation and follow-through issues in my attempts at bettering myself. So now? I am setting short-term goals! one month at a time!
- ^ Chadwick, Nora, The Celts, p. 181.
- Starhawk (1979, 1989) The Spiral Dance: A Rebirth of the Ancient Religion of the Great Goddess. New York, Harper and Row ISBN 0-06-250814-8 pp. 181 196 (revised edition)